How to Get Auto Insurance as an Immigrant

By Doug Matus

Twelve states, along with Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia, currently offer driving privileges for undocumented immigrants. Of course, car insurance remains a requirement for a license, which begs the question: where can undocumented immigrants find affordable coverage?

Many providers offer insurance, but to find a cheap policy with amenable requirements takes a little preparatory work. Once you’re ready to hit the road, follow this step-by-step process to find an affordable policy. Also, note that your credit score influences your premiums. Learn more about insurance credit scores, how credit scores affect car leases, and whether paying car insurance affects your credit score.

Step 1: Get Your License

All drivers, regardless of residency or immigration status, will need a driver’s license to qualify for insurance. 

Each state has its own legislation to govern the issuance of licenses to undocumented immigrants, so check with your local DMV for the specifics. 

Many states require proof of tax filings or issue the licenses on a temporary basis; no social security number is necessary, however, so long as the immigrant has something to affirm their identity.

Step 2: Collect Quotes

Once you have your license, you’ll want to shop around for the best insurance deal. 

Use a website such as to quickly and easily browse offers from several providers. Many online tools, such as the one available here, allow you to search by zip code and car model. 

If you find a quote that appeals to you, call the provider for a more personalized calculation.

Step 3: Look for Discounts

Low-income drivers, even those who are undocumented immigrants, can sometimes qualify for reduced-cost insurance. For example, in California, the Low-Cost Auto Insurance initiative offers discounts for those with a clean driving record. 

You can also tally up discounts based on your car’s features and other select criteria. Anti-lock brakes and airbags will usually reduce the cost of insurance, as will defensive driving classes. If you stay with the same insurer over the course of years, you can also qualify for customer loyalty discounts.

In many places, a driver’s license feels like a basic requirement for those who want to live productive lives. To drive safely and within the bounds of the law, insurance is a must — thankfully, cost doesn’t need to stand in your way.

About the Author

Doug Matus is a freelance writer who frequently contributes to the Self blog.

Written on August 25, 2016

Self is a venture-backed startup that helps people build credit and savings.
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Disclaimer: Self is not providing financial advice. The content presented does not reflect the view of the Issuing Banks and is presented for general education and informational purposes only. Please consult with a qualified professional for financial advice.

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